ABOUT BOOK WRITING
When the Writing Process Becomes a Product
and then Turns Back into a Process Again
Thanks to the Reader
The process of writing a book tends to get all the attention, as well it should. It's a large undertaking, and one that Rose Press writers do with a deep and sincere heart. This is a process of discovery and, often, artistry, the initial call to write a book fleshed out and lived out in iterations of refinement.
But once a manuscript is completed, then its life as a living, breathing experience changes. It doesn't come to a stop, but that part of the experience is put on hold, for a time; even eclipsed. Because the book is now viewed as a product.
And as a product, it goes through various stages of book production to get into print.
The manuscript is edited and proofread, and the interior pages of the book are designed and typeset.
The book’s back-cover copy is written with readers and book promotion in mind; endorsements sought earlier from experts in the book’s field are included at this point.
Artwork may be commissioned for the cover, and the cover is designed: front, back, and spine.
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is obtained for the Copyright page, and to identify the book in catalogs and such.
A bar code for the back cover is obtained for retailers' purposes.
When everything has been checked and double checked for accuracy and has just the desired look, the book is uploaded to the printer, where it can be printed and made available for purchase and distribution to retailers and others.
From here on in, until the book is actually opened up and read, the creative process is left behind and the book is considered pretty much exclusively as a product: an object with a mission, a market, a financial potential, a niche to fill, a perceived need to create and to satisfy through book sales.
For now, the business aspect is in the ascendancy. From financial operations to distribution, from marketing and promotion to sales, from getting rave reviews to getting multiple book orders, the attention is not yet on the experience of reading the book. It’s on all the many levels of packaging it and getting that package to the reader.
A far distance from the creative process! And one that, according to conventional publishing wisdom, takes up a full 95% of the effort required (the other 5% being taken up with the writing of the book!). Since this 95% gets a great deal more “press,” the notion that books are products gets perpetuated.
Perhaps this is true for books that are purely informational. Perhaps that kind of book is a product.
But there are other kinds of books that cannot be viewed as products for long. Books whose writing engaged the whole being of their authors; books whose writing led their authors into some longed-for, unknown place; books that may first have appeared to their writers to go in one direction, but then took on a life of their own, transforming their creators at the same time that they were infused with their consciousness.
Such books are only products until they are picked up—and read.
For as soon as a reader turns the pages of a book that had this kind of holy origin—a reader who is available to experience what is in it—the book again becomes a creative process. This time, a real person receives the gift that the author (Rose Press authors, to be sure) intended.
And so what went on inside the writer is transmitted directly to the reader—not only through the words, but also through the breathing rhythm of the writer during the act of writing, and through the images that were given to the writer to bring the message across in a more porous and palpable way; through the inner atmospheres, the spirit present in the writing. And on the receiving end, the reader is given that most precious of gifts, a chance to become more intimate with what lies within.
And so the product again becomes a process. You might say that the living experience of the creative process from the writer's perspective is “freeze-dried” during the product phase, and then is “rehydrated” and turned into living nourishment when the reader opens the pages.
We hope you will be nourished by these books by Rose Press authors, and receive all the gifts that their books offer in potential and actuality. That your life will be supported in its blooming.
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